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Predicting the Western and Eastern Conference Finals

One month since I predicted how the entire playoffs would go, we are now near the end of it. I'll highlight my misses and hits from my very first article while giving you my insight about the matchups we have coming up in the Conference Finals.


HITS:

The Entire Western Conference Play-Ins and First Round

Lakers in 6 vs Warriors

Celtics making the Eastern Conference Finals


MISSES:

Bucks and Suns in the Finals

Cavaliers beating the Knicks

Heat not making it out of the 1st round

Anything Eastern Conference related that's not the Celtics and 76ers


Western Conference Finals: 1. Denver Nuggets vs 7. Los Angeles Lakers


Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokić in action.
via Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today Sports

The Lakers went from 2-10 to somehow being in the final 4 for the NBA, which is quite the turnaround since the trade deadline deals. The Lakers have two of the league's top 10 players in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while the Nuggets have a 2-time MVP in Nikola Jokic. So we are in for a great series that could be an instant classic. Both supporting casts boast great talent with the Nuggets having Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jamal Murray, and Bruce Brown. The Lakers also have their guys in D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schröder, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt. I think this matchup comes down to the supporting cast and the center matchup of AD and Jokić. I lean to the Lakers in both of those matchups. I believe AD will be the best player in the series, which he needs to be if the Lakers want to win this series. I also expect Austin Reaves and D'Angelo Russell to have a good series as well, to match with Jamal and MPJ on the other side. Also, LeBron James just has been here too often to pick against him.


Prediction: Lakers in 6


Eastern Conference Finals: 2. Boston Celtics vs 8. Miami Heat


Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler in action
via Michael Reaves / Getty Images

This is a matchup that I thought would be the first-round matchup when I predicted the Play-In Tournament. The Heat actually lost their first play-in game and just made it to face the Bucks, which I surely thought would be a gentlemen's sweep for the Bucks. Just flip that around and I would've been right. The Heat are an unreal success story just proving all the doubters wrong and defying expectations, led by Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Butler has etched himself into the 10 best players in the NBA, and they'll need him to be even better to win this series against the title favorites. Sadly, I think the Heat's run ends now at the hands of Jayson Tatum, who just broke the record for most points in a Game 7. The Celtics have a roster that checks all the boxes and is led by two All-NBA wings, the guards they have contribute to wins, that being Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Derrick White, and two bigs in Al Horford and Robert Williams to protect the paint. I believe that will prove to be too much for surprising but also injured Heat.


Prediction: Celtics in 6


Lakers vs Celtics is my pick for the Finals. The Finals for Banner 18. Should be a series for the ages, if that's how it shakes out.

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